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Newcastle upon Tyne Liberal Democrats

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We are the party of business say Lib Dems, as sector confidence plunges to 7 year low on prospect of bad Brexit

November 18, 2019 10:11 AM

The Leader of the Liberal Democrats Jo Swinson addresses business leaders at the CBI annual conference today, making the case that the Liberal Democrats are the natural party of business.

Local businessman Ali Avaei, who is standing in Newcastle Central as the Liberal Democrats candidate, has also highlighted the lack of answers from the Conservatives on the key isues facing wealth creators.

"The Tory Business Secretary has today confirmed on Radio 4 that the Tories are not the party of business. We have already seen how the threat of Brexit is damaging our economy, yet the Tories still have no answers to businesses' key questions, from future immigration policy to business rates, " he said.

"A Tory Brexit, backed by Donald Trump and Nigel Farage, would create a toxic environment for businesses yet they have no credible plan to mitigate this disaster. The real victims of their complacency will be small business owners, employees, and consumers who will face years more uncertainty.

"The Liberal Democrats will boost our businesses by stopping Brexit, rebuilding our infrastructure and using the Remain bonus from the higher growth of staying in the EU to invest in a brighter future for young people and adults across the United Kingdom."

Jo Swinson told the CBI Cllr Ali Avaei and Jo Swinson:

"The Liberal Democrats are the natural party of business.

"With the Conservatives in the pocket of Nigel Farage and Jeremy Corbyn stuck in the 1970s, we are the only ones standing up for you.

"Because we believe that any form of Brexit, whether it's hard or soft, blue or red, will be bad for jobs, business, and our public services.

"We believe that being part of one of the most successful economic blocs in the world is the best guarantee we can have for the future success of our businesses and of our country.

"We believe that our best future is as members of the European Union."

"I know that recent years have been challenging - and not just because of the dreaded B-word.

"The Conservatives hide behind the balance sheet and employment rates to paint a picture of a healthy economy.

"But you and I know that, if we look more closely, the image is not quite as rosy as they would have us believe.

"After all, we know that Boris Johnson is hardly a details man.

"It's a bit like when you ask your child to tidy up their room - the room might look clean, but you know you'll find a mess hidden under their bed.

"So let's take a closer look at the health of our economy.

"Last year, business investment fell every quarter, for the first time since 2008.

"In the last 12 months, our productivity growth has flatlined.

"And R&D spending continues to lag behind that of our competitors.

"That's not what a healthy economy looks like.

"And for too many people, the economy just isn't working at all.

"Despite record levels of employment, the average wage is £760 lower than it was ten years ago in real terms.

"One in five people is living in poverty, in our country - the world's fifth largest economy.

"The vote to leave the European Union has distracted the government from addressing the very real issues in our economy."

"Over the last couple of weeks, both of the Conservatives and Labour have set out their plans for investing in schools, hospitals, railways, and everything in between.

"Build infrastructure, and the jobs, tax receipts and economic growth will follow.

"Seems like sound logic, but it is not that straightforward.

"To spend that much money that quickly, we need 'shovel-ready' projects.

"We need the skills and people to make them happen.

"And we need you to feel confident, to want to invest, safe in the knowledge that the government of the day values you and respects you.

"Leaving the European Union makes all that so much more difficult.

"Already EU citizens have started to leave us.

"We know it will only become harder for you to get the talent you need.

"And we know that business confidence is at its lowest level in seven years.

"Both the Conservatives and Labour will have to scramble around for projects to pour money into just to keep their word - regardless of whether they're good projects and good use of public funds.

"So they can stand on stages like this one and give speech after speech, making all the right noises about investment, about wanting to work with you and give you what you need to thrive.

"But the truth is this.

"If you want to get Brexit done or get Brexit sorted, you are not the party of business."